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Misdiagnosis of Alzheimer’s and Medical Malpractice

Dec 27, 2016 | Medical Malpractice

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, over 5 million people in the United States are affected by Alzheimer’s disease. Although it is commonly known to affect people aged 65 and older, up to 5% of those diagnosed have early onset Alzheimer’s.

This generally means that the person who is diagnosed is in their 40s or 50s. Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the US, 1 in 3 seniors dies due to the disease and it has also been revealed that someone in the country develops Alzheimer’s every 66 seconds. It is estimated that by mid century, the disease will affect someone in the US every 33 seconds.

Misdiagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease

An Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis may be missed or delayed because its early symptoms often develop gradually and in most cases, are associated with the normal process of aging. Also, symptoms of the disease can mimic symptoms of various diseases, conditions or disorders, including depression, Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease, vascular dementia, TIA, bovine spongiform encephalopathy, and so forth.

Because Alzheimer’s is such a well-known disease, it is sometimes over diagnosed. Healthcare providers may overlook other causes of memory loss or dementia symptoms. In addition to those mentioned above, other possible diagnoses include certain physical, medical disorders or conditions like brain tumors, thyroid disease, Huntington’s disease or multi-infarct disease.

Conditions Often Mistaken for Alzheimer’s

Misdiagnosis of Alzheimer’s is becoming a highly common occurrence in the United States. Here is a look at some of the conditions that are often mistaken for Alzheimer’s disease:

  • Sleep Apnea: This is a sleep disorder characterized by very low rates of breath or abnormal stops in breathing while sleeping, which causes the patient to suddenly wake up so breathing can be restored. This waking pattern can happen up to 30 times an hour and the patient can be completely unaware of it. This leads to poor sleep, which in turn makes the patient less alert and tired with memory impairment and slowed cognitive function during the day.
  • Stroke: Not all strokes are marked by slurred speech or paralysis. A patient can suffer a mini stroke without being aware of it at all. It can take place while the patient is sleeping, with the only symptoms being gradual cognition decline. Over time, this decline may be inaccurately diagnosed as Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Dehydration: This is a condition in which there is inadequate fluid in a person’s blood vessels, making it difficult for them to maintain normal bodily functions. Over time, this deficit of fluid can have a cumulative effect and it may seem like the person has a progressively declining cognitive function, which can be inaccurately diagnosed as Alzheimer’s.

A Law Firm that Shines

If you or a loved one has been a victim of misdiagnosis of Alzheimer’s, you should immediately seek the help of stellar medical malpractice attorneys at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff, & Wolff of RMFW Law at 212 697 9280. You can discuss if you have enough evidence to bring a claim against the negligent doctor or medical professional.

We want to see if your case is viable or not. Call us today. What is your side of the story? RMFW Law knows this area of the law well, we look forward to hearing from you.